Soaring Above

New Adventures Coastline View from Helicopter Tour

Hearst Castle Helicopter Tour captures the untouched beauty of Big Sur.

By Raquel Baldelomar

Photography by AJ Walker

Big Sur is one of the longest, undeveloped coastlines in the United States. Roughly three million tourists travel California’s Pacific Coast Highway each year to enjoy the region’s rugged beauty. That is until earlier this year when access to Big Sur was cut off.

The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, located on the northern end of Big Sur, closed after it sustained structural damage from winter storms. It’s currently being reconstructed. And portions of the famed Pacific Coast Highway, in the southern region, closed because of landslides, including a massive landslide that buried a quarter mile section of the road.

For months, starting at the northern edge near the Big Sur Ranger Station, a large section of Big Sur has been inaccessible by car – even local residents have to hike in supplies and groceries. That is why Post Ranch Inn, nestled high atop the cliffs of Big Sur, created the Escape Through the Skies vacation package, which transports guests via helicopter from Del Monte Aviation at the Monterey Regional Airport to the ranch.

The Post Ranch Inn is one of the nation’s top luxury resorts. It offers guests exquisite meals from its Sierra Mar restaurant as well as a variety of yoga and meditation classes, including one-of-a-kind Shaman sessions. Guests can also enjoy guided nature hikes, stargazing and the infinity pools overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

In August, Post Ranch Inn began offering guests a new adventure, the Hearst Castle Helicopter Tour Package. Guests experience an exhilarating helicopter ride from Hearst Castle in San Simeon, which is a one-hour drive from the San Luis Obispo Airport along the scenic Highway 1, or a four-hour drive north of Los Angeles via Highway 101 and Highway 1.

We departed Santa Monica airport to San Louis Obispo via a Wheels Up, a membership based private aviation company where you pay as you fly. With Wheels Up you are joining a club that comprises an impressive network of fellow members that come together to share experiences like this Post Ranch Inn tour package. The luxurious private fleet of King Air 350i is the most comfortable solution for short-haul flights, like our flight from LA to San Luis Obispo.  “Wheels Up is a private aviation company that significantly reduces the cost to fly private,” says Miles Rogers, chief strategy officer of Wheels Up.

After arriving in San Simeon, the packages features a wine tasting and lunch at Hearst Ranch Winery’s historic Sebastian’s Café and General Store, followed by a private tour of Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle

Much like the terrain of Big Sur, Hearst Castle is untouched and beautifully preserved. William Randolph Hearst built the estate after he inherited about 40,000 acres of ranchland in 1919, which grew to roughly 250,000 acres. He decided to build his dream home on the same location where his parents took him camping as a child.

New Adventures View of Hearst Castle from HelicopterHearst partnered with architect Julia Morgan, the first woman architect to graduate from UC Berkeley, to build a castle similar in grandeur to those he saw in Europe. Hearst Castle has 165 rooms, 123 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways and showcases about 20,000 works of art. During the 1920s and 1930s, the estate was a gathering place for Hollywood stars such as Cary Grant, Jean Harlow and Charlie Chaplin.

The castle offers visitors a glimpse into the past; you see the same cattle ranch, views of the California coastline and décor as Hearst’s guests saw it back in its heyday. The helicopter departs directly from the Hearst Castle Pergola to Post Ranch Inn.

“We had an unforgettable experience,” says Mark De Roche, Baldelomar’s travel companion. “We started our journey taking a private jet through Wheels Up, which gave us the flexibility to arrive at Hearst Castle when we wanted. Hearst Castle was exquisite, the view from the helicopter was stunning and our stay at Post Ranch Inn completely rejuvenated our spirit.”

Hearst Castle Helicopter Tour Package Details

  • Available August 16 to October 7.
  • The starting rate is $1,950 per person and $3,900 per couple.
  • New Adventures Helicopter TourIt includes the round-trip flight from Hearst Castle to Post Ranch Inn, car service at Hearst Castle, lunch and wine tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery's historic Sebastian’s Café and a private Hearst Castle tour. Nightly guest room accommodations are in addition to tour package pricing.
  • Post Ranch Inn’s room rates range from $925 to $2,825 per night during high season.
  • For the most convenient way to get to Hearst Castle without incurring huge upfront costs, fly private to San Luis Obispo via Wheels Up, a membership based private aviation company where you pay as you fly.
  • For questions or to book, contact Post Ranch Inn at (800) 527-2200 or visit


New Adventures Raquel headshot

Raquel Baldelomar has a finance degree from the MBA-modeled Business Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin and began her career managing private equity portfolios as a financial analyst for JP Morgan Private Bank. From there, she developed the advertising program for Luxury Travel Magazine and negotiated over 200 advertising contracts worldwide. In 2003, Raquel launched Quaintise, a national marketing, branding, and advertising agency. Quaintise produces award-winning multi-media content for clients in the health, wellness and hospitality sectors. She is also executive producer of online courses that focuses on brand strategy. In 2015, Raquel decided to devote more time to one of her passions —changing the conversation of healthcare from sick care management to disease prevention.   She cowrote the book Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage and Reclaim Good Health. She is also a Forbes columnist where she reports on work-life balance, creativity, and executive wellness.  Raquel is also a producer of content for CNN Travel and Robb Report focusing on health and wellness with an adventure travel twist. Her goal is to produce multi-media content that includes videos, photo galleries and compelling stories that educate people on how pausing leads to a different kind of productivity, creativity, and wellness. 

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